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Battle Royale Paperback – February 26, 2003
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Top customer reviews
My downsides to this book:
I wish the author didn’t focus too much on Shuya, Noriko, and Shogo, as it made it more obvious that they would be the final survivors. Without this, the author could have definitely made it much more difficult for the reader to guess who would win.
Wow this novel was amazing. I know in the past I have talked about my dislike 3rd person omniscient narration, but this book was perfect. The narration allowed you insight into each of the characters, which allowed you to understand what caused them to react the way they do throughout the Battle Royale. I wasn't sure if I could stomach the novel in the beginning; Sakamochi was brutal. The violence didn't get less descriptive, but maybe it was less shocking, or maybe I just grew used to the horrors. I really love this novel though. One thing that was tricky for me in reading this was the character names. I'm not Japanese, so it was a little tricky trying to keep the names straight. There were certain characters whose names I got down, like Kazuo and Noriko, but some of the others were a bit trickier. I really loved how well Kazuo was written though. He was by far the scariest person I have ever had the liberty to read about. Each of the characters though were nicely outlined. Some of them didn't get much book time, but they each made an impression. There were enough shocking twists, that I was quite uncertain where the book was heading. There was one revelation that I had guessed at early on, because apparently I pay better attention to the facts than let's say Shogo Nakagawa does. Regardless it was an interesting plot point that I was glad to have. I could feel the panic of the kids in this situation. I was feeling some of that nervous energy never quite knowing who could be trusted and who would just kill you in the end. I think this is the perfect alternative to The Lord of the Flies, kids might be able to relate to this extreme situation better than to kids on an island. In this story the kids had to kill or be killed and they all had to make a choice of what their action would be. Some took matters into their own hands and killed themselves, some started killing and some tried to find another alternative. This was a very insightful story into the minds of a group of people. It was interesting reading about all the different situations and reactions each of the kids had. If you have a stomach for some intense violence, I don't think I can recommend this more highly. There was never a dull moment and I could not put this book down.
First Line (of actual story):
"As the bus entered the prefectural capital of Takamatsu, garden suburbs transformed into city streets of multicolored neon, headlights of oncoming cars, and the checkered lights of office buildings."
"YOU MUST HAVE FAITH IN THE COSMIC LIGHT."
"His face was split down the middles, left and right out of alignment like a peanut."
I saw the movie on Netflix before I read the book, and the movie was close but didn't do the book justice. The best way to describe it is with what I read in a review that called it a modern day Lord of the Flies. That is spot on.
But here's one reason why I prefer this book over hunger pangs. In hunger pangs, the combatants are strangers to each other and we're left focusing on katnip as the protagonist. Boring. Whereas in Battle Royale, the combatants are 40 classmates and friends. That right there adds such an amazing dynamic to the story. Shoot a stranger in the face, no problem--but how about your best friend? We even get to see events through all 40 of the kids, including a little backstory on each. And you know what? I felt invested in each and every one of those kids, and I felt it when each one died.
In contrast, I was happy when Gale moved on from katnip leaving her to settle for Peter. Peter, the spineless beta male who was happy to be her 2nd choice. Geez, I wish katnip had gotten a hatchet to the face.